Blog Menu

Personal Interaction Matters

May 3, 2003

Filed under: life — Terry Wohlers @ 12:34

Most would agree that online exchanges and reverse auctions have not done well in the rapid prototyping and tooling industry. To some, it’s puzzling. Using web tools to seek quotes and buy parts can be efficient and effective. So, why is it that they have not developed as some had hoped? My conclusion is this: Getting quotes and buying parts requires personal interaction beyond that offered by a website. It’s not like buying a loaf of bread from a grocery store. It’s important that the service provider clearly understands what the buyer is requesting. Sometimes, the buyer does not know all the options available to him, so it becomes an educational process. This requires phone conversations and sometimes personal visits. Other companies have a handful of suppliers that they prefer to work with, so the online exchange is of little value to them. So in the end, most buyers prefer to interface with people at the supplier companies using traditional methods of communication.